Tahoe Talk: Scientists create embryo; Moon landing planned; Google Maps goes green


– China-US scientists create world’s first human-monkey ‘chimera’ embryo amid an ethical storm. A joint research team from China and the US created the world’s first embryo that was part human, part monkey as a source for organ transplants that some critics say could “open Pandora’s Box.”

– NASA picks SpaceX to land Next Americans on Moon by the end of the decade. That was the initial goal but has since been supercharged with an ambitious target of 2024. The project is named Artemis which is name after the Greek Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, chastity, and (fittingly) The Moon. (Side Note: Elon Musk hosting SNL May 8 stirring controversy)

– Apple is updating its iPhone software and letting users decide if they want to be tracked for targeted ads. The current default allows such tracking. But starting this week if you upgrade your operating system to iOS 14.5, there will be a pop-up that requires an opt-in to be tracked. This is expected to cost Google and Facebook ~$25B in ad revenue and severely disrupt the $400B overall industry.

– Google Maps will now default to the “greenest route” (AKA most fuel efficient) for its navigation. People in a rush may be disappointed, as the former default was the “fastest route.” It will take in factors like inclines (more work for the engine) and traffic congestion (more idling) to help reduce environmental impact along with displaying air quality and weather of expected destination.

– Amazon is equipping a Seattle Whole Foods store with its Amazon One palm-scanning device that lets customers pay by…scanning their palms. Amazon reportedly has plans for a broad rollout

– Never has it cost so much to buy a house in California. The median price for a single-family home shot up to a staggering $758,990 in March — a nearly 6% increase from the previous record of $717,930 set in December and a whopping 24% increase from March 2020. Meanwhile, housing production has strayed farther and farther from Gov. Newsom’s campaign goal of building 500,000 units annually as the state’s homeless population swells to record levels.


– Douglas County commissioners passed their plan the week before last that would have most businesses reopen to 100% capacity by May 1. That plan was reviewed Thursday last week by the NV COVID-19 task force and it was passed. So, beginning this Saturday, the first county surrounding the lake will get back to normal – although masks will still be required (although I’m not sure how much of that will actually be getting enforced) — casinos will still continue to be regulated by the gambling board – this seemingly could pave the way for events like Fourth of July fireworks and (possibly) the summer concert series at Harveys – all of NV is supposed to be open with only a mask mandate by June 1 – CA target date is June 15 – Governor Newsom tweeted yesterday that CA’s positivity rate is at 1.2% – lowest in the country, but also the lowest it has been in a year, so it looks to be on track

– Over the weekend we had a little seismic activity when on Sunday morning a little 3.8 quake centered about 5 miles west of Dollar Point shook the basin –There as also an additional 3.2 magnitude quake just after midnight in the same area Monday morning, but I was out cold for that one – but the quakes centering in the lake bring up the discussion of a tsunami

– Looking ahead to May 14 – that is the day that Clean Up the Lake will be launching their effort (& possibly the largest effort ever) to remove trash from Tahoe – we’re not talking about the beaches, we’re talking about all 72 miles of shoreline underneath the surface – the plan is for the team to dive 3 times a week cleaning roughly 1 mile per day at a depth of up to 25 feet – so this is planning on going almost through the end of the year

– On somewhat of a controversial topic, the USDA forest service has released a new proposal that would build new trails and expand access on existing trails for e-bikes – according to forest service officials, about half the people approve and half don’t – As of now e-bikes are considered a motorized vehicle so they’re basically limited to specific trails and roads – this proposal would look to expand that by about 120 miles of new e-bike accessible trails

– Couple of traffic notes – as of next week, Country Club Drive in Incline Village the street that basically runs from the lake (by the Hyatt and Lone Eagle Grille), past the college & up around the backside of the championship course will go from 35 MPH down to 25 MPH and if you are planning a trip over HWY 80 between today and Thursday – you will be detoured as the road will be closed from 8pm – 8 am for partial bridge over-crossing demolition

– News from the west slope, the city of Placerville has directed staff to lose the noose in the city’s logo. Public comments were pretty harsh in its backlash – the noose has been incorporated into the logo since the 70s. Vice mayor Taylor was quoted as saying “our job at the city is not to fight change, but to navigate it” the motion passed with a 5-0 vote but it wasn’t without people not wanting to give into the cancel-culture movement

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